Free Games

  • Twitch

    • Cyber Hook

      • 2020
      • A fast-paced first person 3D platformer that has you speeding through a retrowave world with parkour and a grappling hook to blast enemies, manipulate time, and abuse physics
  • Epic Games

    • Galactic Civilizations III

      • 2015
      • A 4X (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) turn-based strategy game from the makers of Sins of a Solar Empire, it has you building a civilization that will stand the test of time as you make a name for yourself through diplomacy, espionage, technology, and more

Universal chat app Beeper is looking to bring iMessage to Windows and Android, but it’s a little hacky

  • The launch of Beeper was announced by Eric Migicovsky, who you may remember as the CEO and founder of Pebble, one of the earliest smartwatches
    • The Kickstarter for the e-paper gadget ran almost 9 years ago, and it helped show the world what a connected smart-device on your wrist could accomplish
  • This new venture is an attempt to unify 15 different chat platforms, like WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Slack, Twitter, Discord, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger, into a single app for $10/month
  • The biggest draw though is iMessage, which is only officially available on Apple devices
    • They get around this using “some trickery”, namely always-on software on a supported device to forward the messages from iMessage into a compatible format
    • If you have a Mac that you never turn off you’re set- you just install the Beeper Mac app to act as a bridge and away you go
    • If you don’t, then Beeper will apparently send subscribers a jailbroken iPhone with the Beeper app pre-installed
      • In a follow-up tweet, Migicovsky said that he has 50 old iPhone 4S’s at his desk ready to be used with Beeper
  • As convenient as all that sounds, if someone offered me $10/month to stay on the messaging platforms I already use I would take it in a heartbeat, so I’m clearly not the intended target
    • If it sounds good to you, you can sign up for an invitation at beeperhq.com (make sure to let them know who sent you!)

Brave is officially the first browser to support peer-to-peer websites

  • Using the IPFS protocol (compared to HTTP), it makes loading webpages work similar to BitTorrent by using data from available peers instead of always referring back to the main web server
  • It could mean a more resilient internet with lower hosting costs, but it could also mean higher costs for people browsing and a greater potential for malicious intervention

China’s US Embassy is the latest political entity to have their Twitter account suspended, thanks to a tweet dehumanizing Uighur muslim women and calling them “baby-making machines”, violating Twitter’s policies

  • The tweet has been made unavailable, but Twitter requires account owners to manually delete tweets that violate its rules before unlocking accounts

After repeated rounds of blowback, WhatsApp is now delaying the privacy policy changes that will have them sharing data with Facebook without any kind of opt-out mechanism until May

  • We’ll have to see if this helps the platform regain ground after Signal and Telegram have grown so much since the initial announcement, but hopefully this marks another change in the public’s willingness to hand their info to Facebook without a second thought

Following the removal of Parler from the App Store, non-profit group “Coalition for a Safer Web” has sued Apple to get Telegram banned from the platform as well

  • The group accuses Telegram of hosting conversations of “white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and other hateful content”, but unlike Parler which was founded to be a community for those types of extremists Telegram is somewhat interchangeable with any other messaging platform so I don’t see this getting too far

Posting To YouTube again!

  • Last episode we posted was 229
  • New Automation program to help Josh out
  • Josh is also going to try to live stream on tuesdays

This Week In Gaming History

January 16 – 2013 – Zamboni – Browser

  • Google presented a small game on their front page.
    • In celebration of the 112th birthday of Frank Zamboni, the creator of the world’s first self-propelled ice-resurfacing machine which is commonly known as a Zamboni
  • The player controls an ice-cleaning machine and needs to clean up after a group of kids, hockey-players, or skaters (all of them together in later levels).
    • With each level the number of persons onscreen increases and cleaning up takes more time, also once in several levels the size of the screen itself increases.
    • The player may collect items left behind such as fuel cans (needed to refuel the Zamboni), ice cones (for points), and coffee pots (for a speed boost).
    • There are also banana peels which will cause the player loose control over the machine for a couple of seconds.

January 17 – 2014 – Mario Party: Island Tour – Nintendo 3DS

  • Mario Party: Island Tour continues the Mario Party franchise after the 2007 Mario Party DS release and takes it to the Nintendo 3DS.
    • One can play with any off the previous Mario Party DS characters such as Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, Wario, Daisy, Waluigi, Toad and the new character Boo.
    • A secret ninth character can be unlocked by playing through one of the available game modes.
  • The game is played on seven different boards (6 standard and 1 unlockable) and features 81 different mini-games in the so-called Party Mode, which also can be played “without the use of a game board in the Mini-Game Mode.
    • Island Tour also features AR and supports Streetpass, which can be used in the third mode: StreetPass Minigames.
    • The fourth and final mode is Bowser’s Tower in which players must play through 30 floors of minigames, with every 5 floors featuring a boss battle.
  • The general concept of playing the game is still the same and does not much differ, compared to its previous iteration of Mario Party DS

January 18 – 2011 – LittleBigPlanet 2 – Playstation 3

  • When an inter-dimensional vacuum cleaner called the Negativatron appears, Sackboy must step back into action, alongside Larry Da Vinci and The Alliance, to save Craftworld and Avalonia.
  • LittleBigPlanet 2 is a side-scrolling platformer like it’s predecessor, once again working on three plains which the player can move between, and allowing the player to create their own levels.
    • This sequel includes more sophisticated customisation tools which allow more options for more complex user-generated content.
    • These features include, and are not limited to, the Controlinator, which allows one to assign action triggers to buttons on the controller, as well as Sackbots, AI-controlled sack-people.

January 19 – 2015 – HuniePop – Linux, Mac, Windows

  • HuniePop is a dating simulation including visual novel aspects and minor RPG elements.
    • The player controls a character who attempted to pick up Kyo, a magic love fairy in disguise.
    • Because of your pathetic attempts she decides to help you conquer hearts.
  • The game contains eight girls as well as some secret, unlockable ones.
    • There are more than twenty locations and more than 250 items such as foods, drinks, gifts, accessories and panties.
    • The girls can also be customized in their appearance with unlockable items.
    • The dating part of the game incorporates a match-three puzzle game with upgradable traits/stats.

January 20 – 1992 – Evander Holyfield’s “Real Deal” Boxing – Genesis

  • Evander Holyfield’s “Real Deal” Boxing is a boxing simulation.
    • Holyfield is the only licensed boxer, the rest are fictitious.
    • Rather than a fanciful approach like Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, the developers went for a more strategic simulation.
    • The game is played from a pseudo-3D side view with moving around the ring handled by scrolling the backdrop and moving the ropes. A top down camera is shown at the top of the screen.
  • Players can either play a quick exhibition match or fight their way through the career mode, using a created boxer to work their way up the 30-boxer ranking list until they fight Holyfield himself.
    • During character creation, players can choose the fighter’s color of skin, trunks and hair, haircut, dominant hand and stats emphasis. Between matches, career mode offers various exercises to assign the boxer to improve his stats.
  • During the fights, besides an energy bar, the fighters have a head and a torso damage meter.
    • This meters are images of their head and torso, which become gradually grey, from top to bottom, as they are hit.
    • If one of these meters becomes totally grey, it will start blinking, warning that it the fighter takes some more punches on that area, he will loose the fight by TKO.
    • Being knocked down three times in a round also leads to a TKO.
    • During the rounds’ breaks, fighters regain strength as the girl with the round sign passes along their sides.
  • Fighters can perform three types of punches: jabs, hooks and uppers, which can be aimed at the opponent’s head or torso.
    • Fighters can also taunt their opponents.
    • If by some reason the fighters avoid to fight, the spectators will start to hiss at them.
    • To keep the spectators pleased, the fighters must keep punching each other on a regular basis.

January 21 – 1998 – Resident Evil 2 – PlayStation – North America

  • Plot:
    • Even though Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine were able to destroy the Umbrella corporation’s undead monsters in the original Resident Evil, Umbrella’s experiments with the T-virus continued unhindered.
    • Claire Redfield, the younger sister of Chris, and Leon Kennedy, a rookie cop on his first day of the job, arrive in the sleepy midwestern town of Raccoon City only to find the city in flaming ruins due to the inhabitants having been transformed into mindless flesh-eating freaks.
    • Although Claire and Leon team up, they are soon separated and trapped inside the city by a car crash.
    • Seeking refuge within the Raccoon City police station, each character must find a way to escape from the nightmare while solving the mystery of what happened to Raccoon City.
  • Besides the zombie population (which is much more diverse than the original, including teenage girl zombies, maniac cop zombies, and even melting naked zombies), Claire and Leon will also have to deal with a variety of freakish mutants including giant poisonous spiders, walking venus-fly-traps, and speedy wall-crawling Lickers.
    • Each character will also be pursued by one seemingly unstoppable foe: a horrific and constantly evolving man-monster known as the “G-Type” (Leon’s Scenario) , or a taciturn but inhumanly powerful Umbrella agent who is nonetheless saddled with the rather quaint name of Mr. X (Claire’s Scenario).
  • Like the previous game in the series, Resident Evil 2 is a 3D action-adventure using three-dimensional polygon characters over two-dimensional pre-rendered backgrounds, with the action viewed through a variety of cinematic fixed camera angles in each room.
    • Just like the original Resident Evil, players can choose to play as one of two possible characters.
    • Each character goes through the same initial scenario, but with differences in the type of weaponry they find and the people they meet along the way.
    • Leon will team up with a mysterious woman calling herself Ada Wong, while Claire will find herself charged with protecting a little girl named Sherry Birkin.
  • Unlike the original Resident Evil, beating the game for the first time unlocks a second scenario to be played with the character you didn’t choose, with new locations, maps, enemies, a longer and more climactic ending.
    • Your actions in the first scenario can also affect the outcome of certain events in the second scenario.
    • Additionally ammo and healing items are more plentiful than in the original game, although you still aren’t given enough bullets to kill every enemy you meet.

January 22 – 1997 – Carnage Heart – PlayStation

  • Carnage Heartis a video game for the PlayStation, developed by Artdink.
    • Its gameplay is a mecha-based, turn-based strategy game, where the player takes the role of a commander in a war fought by robots.
    • The robots, called Overkill Engines (OKEs), cannot be directly controlled in battle; they must be programmed beforehand to behave in a certain way under certain conditions using a flow diagram system.
  • The game features a fairly complex negotiation system that allows the player to purchase, research, or upgrade new equipment and parts.
    • The OKEs themselves can be upgraded as well through this system, allowing for extended use of the same model for as long as possible.
    • The various companies involved in the negotiation process can also provide valuable information about the purchases of the enemy, allowing the player to better plan for the next advance in enemy technology.
  • To aid the player in learning the gameplay, Carnage Heart was packaged with an unusually large amount of materials for a console game of the time: in addition to the game disc and above-average length manual, the jewel case contained a 58-page strategy guide and a tutorial disc with a 30-minute, fully voice-guided overview of most aspects of the game.

Tidbits

  • Some clever users of the dating app Bumble apparently took advantage of the app’s political filters to gather information on the insurgents during the January 6th US Capitol riot, taking screenshots and soliciting photos from people that had broken in to the building in order to send them to the FBI
  • Apple is rumoured to be developing their own standalone VR headset, a la Oculus Quest, expected to release some time in 2022, and based on the performance of the new M1 Macs I’m pretty excited
  • Apple is once again extending the free Apple TV+ trial that customers got with new devices, so anyone with a subscription that was set to expire before June can now keep using it until July 2021
  • Career stats from Halo 2, 3, ODST, and Reach, along with the entire halo.bungie.net website, will go offline on February 9th
    • The data hasn’t been updated since 343 took control of the Halo franchise so it makes sense, but it’s a little disappointing that they didn’t try to fold it into the Master Chief Collection and keep it around

Would you like to know more?

  • You might recall about three years back when Elon Musk’s “The Boring Company” decided to sell “Not a Flamethrower”s. Who could have known they could cause legal issues for the owners?
    • TechCrunch put together a great article detailing some of the problems that buyers have had, from one man stuck in an Italian prison to another served with a search warrant by armed officers in his own home
    • Though functionally similar to propane torches for melting ice or applying roofing materials, giving it a rifle stock and pistol grip has rightfully made many people concerned when it comes to deciding if these “Not a Flamethrower”s are weapons
    • London’s rapid response team dedicated to tackling gun crime actually tracked shipments as they entered the country, and up to 1,000 purchasers in Switzerland had theirs confiscated and were issued fines

 

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